MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Sinosteel applies for uranium exploration rights in South Australia

Published by MAC on 2008-09-16
Source: Interfax China Metals and Mining

Sinosteel Corp., one of China's largest iron ore traders, has applied to the government of South Australia for exploitation rights to a uranium mine, Chinese media reported on Sept. 8.

Citing Huang Tianwen, Sinosteel's general manager, China Business News reported on the move, but did not reveal any further details about the plan.

Li Jinqian, the company's deputy general manager, declined to comment on the report when contacted by Interfax.

State-owned Sinosteel is an active buyer of overseas assets. The company reached an agreement in September of 2006 with Australia's PepinNini Minerals Ltd. to acquire a 60 percent stake in the Australian company's uranium assets. The deal involved two uranium mines, Crocker Well and Mount Victoria, and was approved by the government of South Australia in April 2007.

In February 2008, Sinosteel secured a memorandum of understanding with another Australian company, Monaro, to cooperate on uranium exploration in Kyrgyzstan.

To ensure adequate uranium supplies for China's ambitious nuclear power development plan, Chinese companies have been trying to secure access to new uranium deposits at home and abroad. Activities have focused mainly on neighboring countries, such as Mongolia, and African countries such as Niger.

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